10 Peculiar Games Of Olympic That Are Not Played Anymore

Can you guess a few of the peculiar games that have been part of the Olympic Games?

The Olympics is the world’s leading sporting event; its origin dates back to the 4th century AD. 

The Olympic Games have changed from what they used to be. Many games which used to amuse and entertain people have been discontinued because of the nature of the game.

Skijoring at the Olympics
Skijoring at the Olympics (Source: Halo Photographs)

We have compiled ten of such games that used to be part of the Olympics but not anymore. However, these games were part of Olympic history and gives us a glimpse of what the event used to be like.

You will even find some games that might look ridiculous and amusing. 

Let us dive right into the details to find out about these peculiar games that have been discontinued from the Olympics.

Quick Overview

GameDemonstrated Year
10. Snowshoeing2002
9. Plunge For Distance1904
8. Synchronized Skating2002
7. Winter Pentathlon1948
6. Pigeon Shooting1900
5. Ski Ballet1988
4. Tug Of War1900
3. Speed Skiing1992
2. Dueling Pistols1900
1. Skijoring1928

10 Peculiar Games Of Olympics That Are Not Played Anymore

We have compiled our list with the help of references from sources like Bleacherreport, Bustle, etc.

10. Snowshoeing

We are starting our list of the peculiar games of the Olympics that are not played anymore, with snowshoeing. It is a game that involves walking over snow with the help of snowshoes.

Snowshoes are a kind of outer footwear with a broad frame to distribute the person’s weight over a larger area. It is a winter game that extends hiking and is an alternative to skiing or snowboarding.

Snowshoeing
2020 Snowshoeing National Champ Sarah Canney (Source: Sarah Canney)

The game was first demonstrated in 2002 and sadly was not played in the Olympics again.

However, the snowshoe advocates have been trying to include the game back in the Olympics but haven’t had much success.

Currently, the sport is part of the Special Olympics and Arctic Winter Games programs. The World Snowshoe Federation was founded in 2010 as its governing body, which has been changed into International Snowshoe Federation.

This ancient custom gave birth to the present-day Olympics. However, most of the sports that athletes compete in now are different. Click here to read more!

9. Plunge For Distance

On number 9, we have plunge for distance. The game was part of the Olympics only once in 1904 and was never again played in the event.

Plunge for distance was a popular game in the 19th and early part of the 20th century. 

It eventually lost popularity, and by the 1920s, it disappeared from English and US swim competitions.

In the game, players would dive into the pool and coast underwater without moving their limbs. After 60 seconds, when the plunger had floated to the surface, the referee would measure the distance they had drifted.

Plunge For Distance, 1918
Plunge For Distance, 1918 (Source: Wikimedia.org)

The sport received criticism for not being an athletic event. The sports writer for the New York Times even described plunge for distance as the “slowest thing in the way of athletic competition.”

The winner of the 1904 plunge for distance held in the Olympics was an American athlete, William Dickey. 

8. Synchronized Skating

Everyone knows about skating, but what about synchronized skating? Synchronized skating is a form of ice skating where eight and sixteen members perform together as a team.

The sport originated in 1956 and was initially called “precision skating.” It uses a similar judging system as singles, pairs, and ice dancing. The teams perform routines that involve complicated footwork and elements.

Synchronized skating was first demonstrated in 2002 in the Olympics. The game was never played in the Olympics again. However, the sport is well-established and organized in several European countries.

Synchronized Skating
Synchronized Skating United States (Source: U.S. Figure Skating)

Although it is no longer an Olympic Game, various international competitions occur yearly.

There are more than 600 synchro teams in the United States alone currently.

7. Winter Pentathlon

The word pentathlon comes from a Greek word that combines two words, Penta meaning five and Athlon meaning competition.

Pentathlon consists of five elements. Therefore, five segments composed of the winter pentathlon are cross-country skiing, shooting, downhill skiing, fencing, and horse riding. The game made its appearance in the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz.

Winter Pentathlon
Winter Pentathlon (Source: Saturdayeveningpost.com)

Although the sport has been discontinued, modern pentathlon is included in the Olympics. The winter pentathlon is an inspiration behind it.

During the 1948 Winter Olympics, Gustaf Lindh of Sweden won the event. The game was something you would expect to see in a James Bond movie, with shooting, skiing, and horse riding all included in the same game.

6. Pigeon Shooting

Now this game is something that in the modern-day can lead to a public outcry. The game is pigeon shooting, demonstrated in the 1900 Olympics held in Paris.

As the name suggests, the sport is a bird shooting competition, either live or made of clay. Shooting is the game that has been a staple at the Olympics and continues to date.

Live Pigeon Shooting
Live Pigeon Shooting (Source: GettyImages)

Although typically clay pigeons were an option in pigeon shooting, the Olympics in Paris thought it was a great idea to use real pigeons. Moreover, over 300 pigeons were killed in the game. The birds were held and released by the athletes to the aim.

Thank goodness PETA wasn’t around then, and there was no live telecasting. The game never made another appearance, and Olympics officials removed live shooting from then onwards.

We are used to watching common sports like soccer, basketball, cricket, etc. But across the globe, there are many weird sports. Read here about the top 10 weirdest sports!

5. Ski Ballet

Number 5 of the peculiar games of the Olympics is ski ballet. It is a form of ballet performed on skis and is similar to figure skating, combined with various choreographed routines in two-minute music.

Ski ballet was a demonstration sport in the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics.

Although the game was quite popular initially, its popularity significantly declined. As a result, the game was removed from the Olympics.

Ski Ballet
Ski Ballet (Source: Tahoequarterly.com)

The game was part of the freestyle skiing tours and an official FIS and Olympic discipline until 2000. To legitimize the sport, ski ballet became known as Acroski in the 1990s.

The International Ski Federation ceased all formal competition in the sport after 2000. Likewise, the game is no longer part of competitive freestyle skiing.

4. Tug Of War

Everybody knows about the tug-of-war game. It is a sport where two teams participate and pull on opposite ends of the rope. The game was part of the Olympics Games from 1900 until 1920.

It is the test of strength, and the team who can bring the rope a certain distance against the force of the opposing team’s pull wins the game.

In the Olympics, the teams had eight members and had to pull their opponents six feet to win.

Tug of war at Olympics
Tug of War at Olympics (Source: GettyImages)

If neither team could achieve the feat, further five minutes were given by judges for struggle, and the team with the most progress would be declared the winner.

When the Olympics featured game, the British team was one of the strongest teams and won two golds and a silver medal. Tug of war was reportedly up for re-inclusion in 2012 but unfortunately did not happen.

3. Speed Skiing

We are down to the last three peculiar games of the Olympics that are not played anymore. On number 3, we have speed skiing which is a winter sport.

In the game, the players have to ski downhill in a straight line as fast as possible while timing over a fixed stretch of the ski slope. The skiers regularly exceed 200 kilometers per hour during the game.

The game began in the 1930s as an advertising stunt for a ski resort. However, the sport soon gained popularity. Since the 1960s, speed skiing has become a mix of amateur and professional sports.

Speed Skiing
Speed Skiing (Source: InsideTheGames)

The International Olympic Committee sanctioned speed skiing as a demonstration event at the 1992 Winter Games. However, the game has since not appeared in the Olympic Games.

Michael Prufer from France won first place in the event, his nephew Marielle Goitschel was second, and Jeffrey Hamilton from the United States won third place. Unfortunately, Nicolas Bochatay from Switzerland lost his life during the event.

2. Dueling Pistols

While shooting has always been part of the Olympic Games, dueling pistols also appeared in the Olympics in 1908 and the 1906 Intercalated Games.

Pistol dueling is a competitive sport that was developed around 1900. It involves opponents shooting at each other using dueling pistols adapted to fire wax bullets.

Dueling Pistols at the 1912 Summer Olympics
Dueling Pistols at the 1912 Summer Olympics (Source: Wikimedia.org)

It is a dangerous and bizarre sport.

However, unlike the old-fashioned dueling where the competitors fired at each other, they reportedly fired their pistols at the dummies.

The dummies were dressed in frock coats. The sport was part of the concurrent Franco-British Exhibition, using the Olympic fencing arena and in front of guests.

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1. Skijoring

The number 1 peculiar game of the Olympics that is not played anymore goes to skijoring. The word comes from a Norwegian word and translates to ski driving.

It is a winter sport where a person in ski is pulled by a horse, a dog, or a motor vehicle. However, this old-fashioned game, demonstrated in the 1928 Winter Olympics, used horses to pull the skiers.

Olympics Skijoring
Olympics Skijoring (Source: Scandinaviantraveler)

The game was demonstrated on the Alpine Resort’s frozen lake in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Similarly, seven competitors from Italy and Switzerland participated in the event.

However, the results were not included in the official games report.

Skijoring never made another Olympic Games appearance. But many countries with plenty of snow in winter host the game yearly. In 2011, the United States had the world’s largest skijoring event at the City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis.

Honorable Mentions

  • Bandy
  • Ice Stock Sport
  • Croquet
  • Dog Sled Racing

Conclusion

While some sports like pigeon shooting and dueling pistols might astonish you, they used to be part of the Olympic Games in a different era. These games were standard and even entertaining for people at the time.

The discontinuing of some sports is definitely saddening. However, few of the sports mentioned above have gone for good for valid reasons. Nonetheless, they are part of the Olympic Games history.

Which game did you find was the most peculiar one? Do you know of any other peculiar Olympic Games?

Also, Read About the 12 Best Female Shooters of All Time

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